GDPR Clapham Wriers Privacy Statement

Clapham Writers commits that when we collect, store and use data, we will meet data protection standards and comply with the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).

In order to operate, Clapham Writers needs to gather, store and use certain forms of information about individuals. These can include Directors (Trustees), employees, sponsors, volunteers, audiences and potential audiences, business contacts and other people we have a relationship with or regularly need to contact.
Our data policies are in place to protect the rights of our sponsors, volunteers and supporters, and comply with data protections law and follow good practice. They apply to all those handling data on behalf of Clapham Writers including the trustees, employees and volunteers and contractors/third party suppliers.
The Chair of Trustees is the Data Controller for Clapham Writers and will determine what data is collected and how it is used; she also acts as Administrator. She, together with the other Trustees, is responsible for the secure, fair and transparent collection and use of data by Clapham Writers. Any questions relating to the collection of use of data should be directed in the first instance to the Chair of Trustees (E
Everyone who has access to data as part of Clapham Writers has a responsibility to ensure that they adhere to our Data policies. Clapham Writers uses third party data processors (Mail Chimp and any box office provider) to process data on its behalf, we will ensure they are compliant with GDPR.
Our Privacy Policy, including Data Protection, Retention and Audit can be found Here.
The Trustees will keep these policies under periodic review. Staff and volunteers are encouraged to comment and suggest ways they might be improved. Any comments or queries should be directed to the Chair of Trustees in the first instance. Any failure to comply with our Data policies will be taken seriously.

Julie Anderson, Chair of Trustees – Clapham Writers, May 2018

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It’s officially the hottest May Bank Holiday for forty years. The weather has really brought folk out in Clapham, south London. At ten in the morning on Saturday the Old Town pavement cafés were already full and local shops saw queues of people buying food and drink for picnics and barbecues. By one o’clock the Common, or at least that part of it near to the Old Town, was becoming crowded.

I know this because I, with fellow Clapham Book Fest volunteers, was out pounding the pavements and pressing the flesh, handing out the Book Festival Programmes and, very appropriately on such a sunny day, copies of the Clapham Literary Trail leaflet. The latter proved especially popular as people saw it as a good thing to do when they were out on the Common in the sun. As a friend and I sat outside Clapham Picture House having some well-earned refreshment and speaking with a couple at the next table about the Festival and the Trail, one gentleman asked us where we had got the leaflet from. ‘Out of my bag,’ I replied and produced one for him. A conversation about Graham Greene followed.

There was plenty of interest in the Programme too. Lots of people stopped to talk about the Festival saying that they had heard about it (good) and wanted to know more (even better). There were also plenty of firm commitments to coming along (best of all, but let’s see). Ticket sales have stalled a bit, compared to last year, as Omnibus has been closed for refurbishment this week, though the phones have been in operation and tickets are available on-line. Apologies to those who have tried to buy tickets and found the Box Office shut. Anecdote suggests that people don’t find using the online ticketing easy, especially when buying tickets for multiple events, so we await a surge of ticket buying now the Theatre Box Office is open again. We’ll be watching very closely this week to see how sales go. With less than a week before the event, we’re getting to the crunch time.

Indeed by ten o’clock next Saturday night this year’s Clapham Book Festival will be over. I hope, by then, even more folk than last year will have come to talk about books and writing, to the Library and the Theatre and that some of them, at least, will have enjoyed our end of Festival Meet & Greet with local authors. Located, most appropriately, in The Greene Room, there will be a bar, food and live music from The Jags ( Jago Poynter, guitar and vocals, Rick Holland, percussion ) from 8 o’clock onwards. We’ll be announcing the winner of the Clapham Summer Fete Prize Draw (the prize was books from the Festival and Clapham Writers) later this week and handing over the prize during that session.

In the meanwhile we’ll be distributing even more leaflets, not least to folk revelling in the sunshine on the Common today and our social media campaign will continue. Our Books Director has taken possession of all the books which will be on sale during the Festival (cash and card) and our check-list regarding logistics has been written – getting up to 600 people in and out of a small theatre across one day is a precision task, and then one has to factor in the Library and the movement of people between the two venues. But it’s all organised.

I can’t wait for Clapham Book festival to begin!

If you would like to read more about the Clapham Book Festival present or past why not try                   A Literary Dame                 Books and Walking – A Literary Trail                   How to Get Published?                  Place & the Writer

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A Room at the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

To round off another first-rate celebration of books and reading at the Clapham Book Festival this year we are pleased to present novelist and screen writer, Deborah Moggach OBE.

The child of two writers, Deborah went to Bristol University and then did a variety of jobs, including working in publishing, before she married and, in the mid 1970s, went to live in Pakistan. This is when she began to write and her first novel, an autobiographical tale, You Must Be Sisters was published. This was closely followed by Close To Home, about a mother with small children. By this time Deborah had returned to London and had a son and a daughter.

Moving away from the autobiographical, the next eight novels were set in various locations, Karachi, the U.S., a pig farm near Heathrow… All drew critical praise. In the mid 80s Deborah began writing screenplays, receiving a BAFTA nomination for her adaptation of Pride and Prejudice starring Keira Knightley and adapting other of her books for the screen. She wrote the screenplay for Love in a Cold Climate for the BBC and won a Writers Guild Award for her adaptation of Anne Fine’s Goggle-eyes. The most recent of her own novels she has adapted for the screen is Final Demand, starring Tamsin Outhwaite, a tale of fraud, retribution and reptile breeding on the BBC. But her most famous adaptation was of her novel about out-sourcing elderly Brits to India, These Foolish Things, which became the tremendously popular The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (and spawned a hundred similarly long and convoluted film titles – witness the latest Channel Island set book club film – none of which have been as successful as the original).

Deborah has also written historical fiction. Tulip Fever, which was also filmed (2015) is set in the 17th century Dutch Republic, during Tulipmania. This was inspired by Dutch painting, particularly Vermeer and de Hooch, though, of course the Dutch also painted wonderful still life paintings of flowers, insects and tulips. Her other historical novel In the Dark is set in 1916 and, she says, is about ‘war, meat and sex’. Her most recent novel is Something to Hide, which trots the globe, exploring forms of betrayal and how everyone has secrets, be it in London, Texas, Beijing or west Africa.

Deborah has been Chair of the Society of Authors, on the Executive Committee of PEN and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

And what’s more, she will be discussing her novels and screenplays (with some hilarious stories about Hollywood and the world of film-making) at 7pm on Saturday 12th May in Omnibus Theatre closing the Clapham Book Festival 2018. Tickets are available at Omnibus, costing £15/£12 concessions and a snip at the price. Afterwards join us in The Greene Room, for chat and live music. Local authors, including those taking part in the Festival, will be there.

If you want to read more about the Clapham Book Festival 2018 or earlier editions why not try     Crime Land              Word Force                 Walls Have Ears             So You Want to Get Published        A Literary Dame

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A Literary Dame

A real coup for Clapham Literary Festival this year is the presence of Dame Margaret Drabble. We are a small and relatively new literary festival and we’re very lucky to manage to attract someone of Dame Margaret’s stature. She will be in conversation with best-selling local novelist Natasha Cooper.

Born in Sheffield, Dame Margaret went to Newham College, Cambridge to read English and subsequently joined the Royal Shakespeare Company. Acting was abandoned for a life in literary studies and writing and her first novel A Summer Bird Cage was published in 1963. Her third novel, The Millstone (1965) won the John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial Prize and Jerusalem the Golden won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize in 1967. To date she has written nineteen novels, two biographies, of Arnold Bennett and Angus Wilson, critical works on William Wordsworth and Thomas Hardy and she edited the Oxford Companion to English Literature in 1985 and 2000. Other non-fiction includes A Writer’s Britain: Landscape and Literature (1979) and The Pattern in the Carpet: A Personal History with Jigsaws (2009).

Dame Margaret’s novels reflect contemporary society, with individual protagonists, usually women, experiencing the political, economic and intellectual climate of the day, often the darker and more restrictive elements. There is a whole generation of English women who ‘grew up with’ her early novels which documented the tremendous societal change of the 1960s and 70s and what this meant, and how it felt, to women at that time. Women’s growing independence, financially and, with the advent of the contraceptive pill, sexually and their subsequent attempts at family life at the same time as finding some form of fulfilling intellectual life featured strongly. Jerusalem the Golden was the original ‘Hampstead novel’ though its author has always seen it as the continuation of the narrative tradition of Arnold Bennett rather than the beginning of a new tradition (which it became).

In later years Dame Margaret continued to address the issues of the day, while taking inspiration from her own life. Her 1980s trilogy, The Radiant Way, (1987) A Natural Curiosity (1989) and The Gates of Ivory (1991) explores life for middle class, educated women in post-Thatcher Britain which she has described as ‘mean, cold, ugly, divided, tired . . . post-imperial, post-industrial’. London is left behind, in the second and third book as in later novels, such as The Witch of Exmoor (1998) which chronicles the experience of an older writer who withdraws from London to live on Exmoor and the impact this has on her adult children.

On 12th May Dame Margaret will be discussing her life in letters, but also her latest novel The Dark Flood Rises (2016). Its heroine Fran may be old but she’s still living a full and ungentle life, much to the chagrin of her off-spring and contemporaries. The Guardian ‘With its echoes of Simone de Beauvoir and Samuel Beckett, this quiet meditation an old age seethes with apocalyptic intent . . . Brilliant.’ The Times ‘Darkly witty and exhilarating’ Sunday Telegraph ‘Drabble has pulled off a quietly revolutionary portrait of an age-group whose lives are just as urgent as anyone’s but are rarely considered’ Daily Mail ‘Erudite, beautifully written, funny, tragic’.

Natasha Cooper is a crime writer and former Chair of the Crime Writers Association. Her sleuth Trish MacGuire has featured in a series of nine books, her civil servant detective Willow King in seven and her forensic psychologist Dr Karen Taylor in four. She has just started writing again after a 7-year break, in between broadcasting, reviewing, writing features and short stories, and talking to reading groups and literary festivals in the UK and USA.

Come along to Omnibus Theatre on the afternoon of 12th May and hear her talk with Dame Margaret Drabble about The Dark Flood Rises and a lifetime in literature and letters. Tickets £15/£12 concessions. Buy them now, this event is already proving popular.

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Word Force

The precision, power and poetry of words.

Poetry at Clapham Book Festival this year. Introduced by local poet, art critic and editor of international poetry forum The Bow-Wow Shop, Michael Glover, our poets are Daljit Nagra and Cecilia Knapp.

Michael was born in Sheffield, something treated with humour and humanity in his memoire Headlong into Pennilessness (2011, ACM Retro). His latest poetry collection is Only So Much (2011, Savage Poets Collective). Eagle-eyed readers might remember his popular and well-attended session at the very first Clapham Book festival in 2016. This year he introduces our poetry event.

Daljit Nagra will be familiar to Radio 4 listeners as Radio 4’s first ever Poet in Residence (from 2015 – 2017) and as presenter of Radio 4’s Poetry Extra. Born near Heathrow, he too lived in Sheffield where he first got the poetry bug and later moved to London to study English at the Royal Holloway. It wasn’t until he was 30 that he felt confident enough to consider trying to get his work published and, with support from established poets and The Poetry Society he eventually submitted a pamphlet Oh My Rub! for the Smith/Doorstop Books competition, which he won. His first collection Look We Have Coming to Dover! was published in 2007 by Faber and was Poetry Book of the Year for The Guardian, The Independent, The Financial Times and The New Statesman.

Since then Daljit’s work has been short-listed for numerous national awards, including the coveted T.S.Eliot Prize, as well as winning the Forward Poetry Prize (twice). His latest book is British Museum (2017 Faber & Faber) ‘To anyone experiencing the sinking feeling that poetry in Britain is becoming depoliticised, Nagra’s work is a tonic.’ The Independent. ‘[Nagra’s poems] do that rare thing in poetry of stretching language, making it do things it hasn’t done before. It’s multiculturalism at its most complex, individual and real.’ Scotland on Sunday. He teaches poetry at Brunel University and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

Cecilia Knapp’s latest work is Finding Home (2017, Burning Eye Books) is based on her one woman theatre show exploring loss, mental health and womanhood. Her first poetry collection, also Burning Eye, is due for publication in 2018. Predominantly a spoken word poet, Cecilia has performed at all the UK’s top festivals, including the Edinburgh Fringe. She was featured in the BBC series Women Who Spit (spit being the term for spoken word poetry). She was artist in residence at the Roundhouse and, more recently, at Pimlico Library and writes for the theatre, touring a devised experimental theatre piece entitled Rear View with Yorkshire based company I.O.U..

Cecilia has been described as ‘mesmerising’ and ‘totally gripping.’ Her writing has been described as ‘light as a birds feather’ (Lyn Gardner) and focuses on the poetry in everyday life, experience and human interaction. She believes writing and sharing stories to be transformative and uniting, focusing, in particular on the restorative power of creativity, especially on mental health and well-being.

They will be discussing their love of words and their art and craft at 12.15 on May 12th at Clapham Book Festival, Omnibus Theatre, tickets £10/£8 concessions. Come long and join in.

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So you want to get published?

Your precious manuscript, the personal history or memoire, the collection of short stories, the long-laboured over novel or that treasured exploration of a subject – how to get them on to bookshop shelves?

Technological change means that self-publishing has never been easier and there are a multitude of small ‘e’ publishing outlets. Amazon currently holds 17 million English language books and Smashwords 481,000 ‘e’ books. So, in one sense, publication isn’t a problem. Success after self-publication is another matter. UK publishing contributes £1.1bn to the economy, but, these days, even big publishing houses have small promotion budgets. What the publishers do have is clout – with the chain bookstores, with the prize committees and other media. A book stands a much better chance if it is published by a mainstream publisher.

So a publishing contract is the holy grail. But how to get one?

Creative writing expert Emma Darwin and experienced industry insider and editor, Philip Gwyn Jones will be telling folk exactly that in The Writing Game which starts the events at Omnibus Theatre at 11am on 12th May.

Emma, the great-great grand-daughter of Charles Darwin and Emma Wedgewood, was born and brought up in London( ‘though we can’t quite classify her as a Clapham Writer ). Her first novel The Mathematics of Love (Headline Review 2006) was listed for the Commonwealth Writers and Goss First Novel awards, long listed for the Price Maurice Prize and the RNA Novel of the Year. The Times described it as “that rare thing; a book that works on every conceivable level.” Her second novel, A Secret Alchemy (Headline 2008) reached the Times Bestseller list and was named as one of The Times Top 50 Paperbacks of 2009.

She has a doctorate in Creative Writing from Goldsmiths (UCL) and lectures for the Open University, as well as being a regular contributor to literary festivals and courses around the country, most notably York Festival of Writing, the Arvon Foundation and Writers Workshop (now Jericho Writers ). Her blog, This Itch of Writing, deals with everything from writing technique and process to the ins and outs of the publishing industry and how a new writer might navigate through them. I can thoroughly recommend her Tool-Kit, it brought back my days of teaching creative writing, many, many years ago. It’s free to access.

She has also written Get Started in Writing Historical Fiction (John Murray, 2015). Emma is a regular at the Tea House Theatre for Words Away, a monthly salon for discussing writing and books, which takes place in Vauxhall.

Philip Gwyn Jones is a seasoned editor and publisher with 25 years’ high experience at the heart of literary publishing in the UK. His early career was at HarperCollins UK, first as editorial director of Fontana Press and then as publisher of Flamingo. More recently, he was Executive Publisher at Granta and Portobello Books (which he founded in 2004) and is currently Editor-at-Large at ScribeUK, where he buys both fiction and non-fiction.

So, if you’re looking to find someone to publish your novel, your stories or poems or your non-fiction come along and listen as Philip and Emma share all the do’s and don’ts of publication and open up the publishing and writing world.  11 am 12th May Omnibus Theatre. Get your ticket now.

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Walls Have Ears

After the success and popularity of the Clapham Book Festival’s panel session last year about spies and spying, either real or fictional, ( see Espionage ) we decided to run a similar session this year focussing particularly on WWII and the immediate post-war period.
So this year’s panel of three successful biographers includes Clapham residents Henry Hemming and Simon Berthon.

Henry Hemming’s latest book is an acclaimed biography of Maxwell Knight, the British spymaster ‘M’, often thought to be the inspiration for ‘M’ in Ian Fleming’s James Bond books. Knight became a legendary spymaster despite an almost total lack of qualifications. He was a jazz aficionado and expert on primates, but what set him apart from his peers was a mercurial ability to transform almost anyone into a fearless secret agent. He was also the first in MI5 to grasp the potential of training female agents. Listed as a Book of the Year in The Times, The Sunday Times and the Daily Mail. The Guardian said ‘This is a terrific book, well researched and superbly written.’.

Simon Berthon’s non-fiction books include Warlords: In The Heart of Conflict 1939-1945, a study of Churchill, Hitler, Roosevelt and Stalin and the relationships between them. ‘Fascinating insights into the minds of these titans’ the Daily Mail, ‘It reads like a thriller but it is also a scholarly, impeccably researched piece of work … superlative’ Tribune. Simon has recently begun to bring his knowledge to fiction-writing, with the popular Woman of State in 2017 and his first thriller A Secret Worth Killing For which will be published in May 2018.

They are joined by Clare Mulley. An award-winning biographer, whose latest book The Women Who Flew for Hitler, is described, by The Spectator as ‘A serious double biography of two of the most remarkable women in then history of aviation… well researched, beautifully written, and gives a perspective on the war that even seasoned students will find refreshing’. Nazi Germany’s only two female test-pilots, Hanna Reitsch and Melitta von Stauffenberg, who ended their lives on opposite sides of history. ‘Vividly drawn…a thrilling story’ Daily Telegraph. Clare has also written about Eglantine Jebb, the controversial founder of international Save the Children in The Woman Who Saved the Children and a biography of Krystyna Starbek, aka Christina Granville, Britain’s secret agent in WWII in The Spy Who Loved. ‘As thrilling as any fiction… Clare Mulley has made a fine and soberly thrilling addition to the literature of the undercover war… this book, massively researched and excitingly told, brings an extraordinary heroine back to life’, Daily Mail.

They will be discussing the defence of the realm, secrets, international espionage and writing, both fiction and non-fiction, about WWII and later. Why not come and join them at the Clapham Book Festival?

Walls Have Ears is at 5 pm in the Omnibus Theatre £10 per ticket (£8 concessions) on 12th May.

For more about the Clapham Book Festival 2018 or earlier editions try       Crimeland          The Department for Security and Crime Science                    Place & the Writer          Historical Seduction

A version of this blog first appeared on on  2nd April 2018.

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